I feel strongly that I need to talk about Shaun McCracken

There it is, the inescapable truth.

I have been thinking about Shaun McCracken all weekend.

Shaun McCracken, Untitled #358

His work is featured in a show, ‘Not From Here,’ at the Rose Gallery in Bergamot Station. The exhibition opened Saturday night.

Have you ever been hanging out comfortably with a group of friends, and after a few beers someone decides to order pizza and then the pizza comes and you’re pretty hungry at this point so you’re excited about that first bite, and then you taste the pizza and it’s really not all that good but you finish the slice and have another one anyway because it’s pizza? That’s what Shaun McCracken’s 20×16-inch egg tempura on panel paintings are like.

Shaun McCracken, Untitled #386

The arty bollocks from the Rose Gallery says:

Without prior planning or drawing, McCracken creates geometric, hard-edged paintings. Utilizing layered color blocks and lines, the evolution of the painting reveals itself, creating an individualized history within each work.

Which, sure why not. Except, oh my god, is the name of this next one truly Untitled #345? Not only is that uncomfortably dystopian, but a serialized numeric nomenclature dilutes the individualized history within each work.

Shaun McCracken, Untitled #386

Why am I even telling you this? There were far more interesting artworks going on at Bergamot Station Saturday night, and it’s not like you switched on your internets for the purpose of reading about disappointment and mild boredom.

Yet I’m still writing! I feel compelled. Thanks for making it this far through the post! I’m still not sure what else to tell you or why I’m still typing. Yet as I think about the evening, I kept coming back to these Untitleds.

They’re not even all that bad. And because they’re not really that bad, I can’t wrinkle my nose in contempt. I can’t drop my monocle and declare an outrage. I can’t ball my fists in indignation. That would show strong emotion, and strong emotion is fun to read about, and that is not what’s going on here. This is like when someone’s dad tells you a joke and it’s not that funny but you repeat it to your friends later on anyway during an awkward silence. Conversation doesn’t just spring up all on its own. Someone has to make it happen.

Shaun McCracken, Untitled #344

Visually, these are like looking at a bowl of fruit loops. They’re not as tasty though and paintings are notoriously awful about absorbing milk, as we all know (I like my cereal a little soggy). So there it is, the inescapable truth I’ve been dying to get off my chest all weekend: these paintings aren’t that bad but they’re not as good as fruit loops.

I’m finally satisfied and can move on with my life. You should go check out “Not From Here” at the Rose Gallery and get back to me and tell me if I missed something.

[Shaun McCracken]